9 Day Ireland

*** DAILY MASSES INCLUDED ***

DAY 1: USA / DUBLIN.  We begin our British Isles tour by boarding our trans-Atlantic flight to Dublin.

DAY 2: DUBLIN.  Upon arrival at London Airport we will be met by our tour escort and we will see O'Connell Street, the historic Post Office and gracious Merrion Square where Oscar Wilde’s House can still be found (today owned by an American College) and St Stephen's Square.  Also visit Trinity College to see the famous Book of Kells.  Then visit St Mary’s Pro Cathedral which functions as the main Catholic parish church of the city centre in Dublin. Celebrate Mass. Dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Dublin / Donegal.  Today we journey from Dublin to County Donegal.  First enroute we visit Monasterboice where we discover an old graveyard, two churches and a sundial. Monasterboice is most famous for its spectacular high crosses, especially the cross of Muineadach an outstanding example of high crosses of the early Christian period, noted as being the tallest in Ireland. Then visit St Patrick’s RC Cathedral Armagh, an imposing site, perched on the hilltop in Armagh and dominating its skyline. The church was begun in 1840, but because of the intervening famine years, not completed until 1873. Armagh is the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. Celebrate Mass.  Continue to our hotel in the Donegal area.  Dinner and overnight.

Day 4: County Donegal.  Celebrate Mass. Enjoy a full day touring in the Donegal region.  Donegal matches anywhere else in Ireland for bleakness, dramatic cliffs and hectares of peat bogs. Visit the Glenveagh National Park, in many ways one of Ireland’s hidden treasures, as well as Glenveagh Castle and the splendid gardens which surround it. The castle received many visitors in its time ~ some of the most notable being Greta Gabor and Princess Grace of Monaco. Then we visit Colmcille Heritage Centre, an interpretive exhibition featuring Saint Colmcille [Columba], Patriarch of the Irish Monasticism and Scottish Church. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 5: Donegal / Galway.  This morning we depart Donegal for Galway.  En-route visit Knock Shrine, an internationally recognised Marian Shrine. This little town is an important pilgrimage centre and has been famous for over a century as the site of visions, apparitions, and miraculous cures. Celebrate Mass. The story of Knock began on the 21st August 1879 when Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared at the south gable of Knock Parish Church. Fifteen people, young and old witnessed the apparition. The personal pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II in 1979, commemorating the centenary of the apparition, inspired an even greater devotion to the Shrine and endorsed the indelible seal of Vatican approval. Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited the Shrine in June of 1993. One and a half million pilgrims visit the Shrine annually.  Continue to Galway city, a delight with its narrow streets, old stone and wooden shop fronts and good restaurants. Our visit can start at Galway’s modern Cathedral, which was built in 1965. Then continue across the Salmon Weir Bridge and along the trout stream to the Collegiate of St Nicholas of Myra, which was built in 1320. Continue along Eyre square, the accepted centre of Galway City and a statue to Padraig O’Conaire, a noted Irish writer. Then we visit Galway Cathedral, the largest Catholic church in Galway. The cathedral is located on Nun’s Island and was the last large church in Ireland to be made from stone. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 6: Galway / Kerry.   Celebrate Mass. This morning we depart Galway and drive to Galway.  First we travel through the Burren Region, one of Ireland’s 6 National Parks. The region is visually similar to a moonscape, yet shelters a mixture of flora and archaeological sites which have attracted visitors for centuries. Continue to the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most spectacular sights and situated on the Atlantic Ocean and bordering the Burren Area. The Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara. Then a visit to O' Brien's Tower built by Cornelius O’ Brien, a descendant of Brian Boru and Atlantic Edge, an exciting new interpretive centre at the Cliffs of Moher.  Take the Shannon Car Ferry to our hotel in the Kerry area.  The Shannon estuary has a unique value with a group of bottle nosed dolphins resident in the estuary as well as an important habitat for migrating birds and wild fowl. Dinner at your hotel or enjoy an Optional dinner and traditional entertainment at Kate Kearney’s Cottage (or similar).  Kate Kearney's Cottage is a 150 year old family-run establishment.

Day 7: Ring of Kerry.  Today, we tour the Iveragh Peninsula and discover the Ring of Kerry. Taking in spectacular scenery - mountains, peat bogs, lakes and magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean as we travel through Killorglin, famous for its Puck Fair, Glenbeigh, Cahirciveen, Waterville, Sneem Village, Molls Gap and Ladies View with superb views of the famous lakes of Killarney. Visit Muckross House, a nineteenth century country residence with folk museum.  Visit Killarney and enjoy a Jaunting Car Ride to discover areas of the National Park that you might not otherwise visit.  Relax aboard a jaunting car as your Jarvey [driver] takes you through the magnificent scenery of Killarney National Park.  Visit Killarney, home of St. Mary’s Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic-style building that serves as the cathedral of the Catholic Diocese of Kerry. Celebrate Mass. Dinner at your hotel.

Day 8: Kerry / Limerick.  Today after breakfast we depart for Limerick.  First we visit Cahir Castle, superbly set on a rocky island in the River Suir in Cahir town. This impressive 15th century castle - the largest of its period in Ireland - was considered impregnable until the advent of the heavy cannon. Then visit the Rock of Cashel, possibly the most photographed site in Ireland.  The Rock of Cashel towers over the town of Cashel from its perch on a 200-foot high outcrop of limestone. St. Patrick visited the rock in 450 AD, while Brian Boru was crowned the first high King of Ireland here in the tenth century. Celebrate Mass. Continue to our Limerick area hotel and enjoy a medieval banquet and entertainment at Bunratty Castle (or similar).  Overnight at our hotel.

Day 9: Farewell!  Ireland / North America.  Transfer from our hotel to the Shannon Airport for return flight home – the end of a memorable pilgrimage.